Invasion of crazy ants that dine on your iPhone

America is, scientists say, under an invasion of a new ant species -- Nylanderia fulva -- that has a true taste for gadgets of all kinds.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read
They're very hairy. KEYE-TV Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It was first spotted in Houston. But then so many strange phenomena are.

Now it's heading your way, regardless of where you might be keeping safe in these excitable United States.

It might seem to you as if it's had a few drinks. But no amount of offering it your Jack or your Bacardi will keep it from one thing it really wants in its mouth.

Yes, your S4, iPhone 5 or, indeed, anything that smacks of electronica.

Nylanderia fulva is its name. But you, at least as far as scientists are concerned, can call it the "crazy ant."

This is to be distinguished from the crazy aunt. She will only start chewing through your DVR cables after she's been at the Bacardi.

As ABC News explains it, we should all be very concerned. These ants used to hang in Argentina and Brazil.

Now they are with us, and they truly are quite crazy. Their path is the kind of meandering mess that the inebriated would eschew. They're only an eighth of an inch long, so you'll hardly see them before it's too late.

Worse, they are terribly fond of crawling into your gadgets and spending the rest of their lives there. They have a particular fondness for laptops, phones, and recreational vehicles.

Yes, they eat them. In fact, they'll try to eat anything.

Researchers at Texas A&M believe they have already caused $146.5 million worth of weeping human eyes at the sight of destroyed gadgets.

More research done at the University of Texas in Austin suggests that these things just can't be stopped so easily. (I have embedded video featuring the University's Edward LeBrun explaining how the ants take their talents to new places.)

You might want to ensure that you are not in possession of any food or drink before I tell you the next part -- the one that may affect your precious Lumia 920.

Ready? Well, infestation starts like this: One crazy ant crawls into your gadget, munches away, and gets electrocuted.

This buzz makes it roll over, wave its belly in the air, and give off an aroma that Estee Lauder would surely love to patent. ("Antidote. The Fragrance That's A Killer!")

You remember that these ants are crazy? Well, they love this scent so much that hordes of them storm toward it.

Soon, more of them are being electrocuted. Which means more of them are giving off the perfume. Which means more of them are heading for your Lumia. Yes, they are Lumiatics.

Ultimately, there are so many dead ants inside your gadget that it enjoys a short circuit or sauteed insulation or one of the other fine things that might happen when you have a million electrocuted ants inside you.

You might imagine that you can use the same precautions against these crazies as you use against the fire ant. Not so. Indeed, the crazies seem to be making the fire ants disappear and don't succumb to any amount of Raid.

All right, they don't bite as meanly as the fire ants and they can't fly. But if they get themselves inside any part of your life they reproduce even more quickly than they eat.

Please be prepared to be very annoyed. These crazy ants fully intend to make you demented.

They can't help themselves. Sadly, it seems that you can't either -- other than to check your gadgets for insane invaders 10 times every day.